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How To Cook Kale: 9 Different Ways To Try!

Published by: Maria Kelley • Updated: January 20, 2024 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

Kale is not the sexiest of vegetables, but it is a star because of its nutritional value. It has vitamins A, B6, C and K. It also has manganese, copper, potassium and calcium. At 33 calories, it is very friendly to those who are watching their weight, and at 7 grams of carbs, it’s also good for those with diabetes.

If you’re wondering what to do with kale when cooking this lovely leafy green, check out our 9 different methods …

How to Cook Kale: 9 Different Ways

When it comes to kale, it’s all about culinary imagination. Here are 9 ways to cook kale and make it good, too.

1. Steamed

Steaming anything, not just kale, the material becomes tender because of the moist and hot environment. All you need to do is cook it for 3-5 minutes with a top lid. When the steam is heated, the dark green kale turns into a bright green, and that’s that.

You’ll also notice that the volume reduces to about 40 per cent of what it originally was. This is to help you decide on the serving size. So, if you cook 8 cups of kale, it becomes 5 cups when you’re ready to serve it.

Add a little salt and black pepper, and you can eat it as is. You can add it to your breakfast with leftovers or make it a side dish. You can steam Kale in your favourite saucepan or a Ninja Foodi.

2. Sauté 

Green Kale Leaves

Sautéing is a great way to consume kale as well. Toss the leaves in hot oil in a wok or a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir it occasionally, and you will see the leaves turn light brown. Once the leaves start wilting, add some salt and pepper to them.

It’s a way to cook kale in dry heat, which gives it a toasted flavour. You can also add minced garlic cloves to give it an extra zing. If you have aged cheese in the house, shred some of it on top and voila! You have a tasty and healthy side dish ready in minutes.

3. Braised

Braising requires you to cook the kale in a small quantity of liquid, which means you can do that with tomatoes and bacon. Add some chiles and garlic for flavour. Kale has a rough texture, making it a good fit for braising.

When cooking something in slow heat for a long time, the leaves become tender and absorb the surrounding flavours. Chop up a few onions and roast them on the side. Garnish with salt and black pepper in the end.

4. Blanched

kale dish

Blanching kale is also good because it covers the rough texture and bitter taste. It will lose the green colour, but that’s only natural. Just make sure you dunk the kale in salted water after it reaches boiling. Then, you must drain it and rinse the leaves in ice-cold water.

When you do this, you won’t retain all the vitamins in kale, but the texture will be tenderised, and the flavour will be more palatable. That allows you to eat more of it, which should compensate for the loss of vitamins.

5. Roasted

If you’re using the oven to cook something, it’s a good idea to toss some kale in there as well. It doesn’t take any effort. Just chop the leaves and spread them on the tray. Heat up the oven to “very hot”, and within 5 minutes, you’ll have roasted greens that can be used as toppings on pizza or pasta or as dressing on a salad.

6. Make A Salad

kale salad with chickpeas

You can also add kale to your salads just as you would do if you had lettuce. This is great for those who like to chew. If you don’t want to eat it raw, you can run the leaves with your hands to break down the fibres. That should help.

7. Make A Kale Soup

You can also cook the greens until tender and add them to a soup. Adding potatoes and beans will give you a healthy fluid to consume, and it’s a great companion on chilly winter evenings.

8. Make Kale Chips

Kale chips are also popular because you only need a small amount of oil and a heated oven. You can add parmesan cheese to them, making them both tasty and healthy.

9. Make A Smoothie

kale smoothie

You can also add kale to nutritious smoothies. They’re a great addition to pears, mangoes, blueberries, and avocados to name a few sweet fruits.

10 Interesting Facts About Kale

  1. Kale is a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  2. Kale has been cultivated for over 2,000 years and was a popular vegetable in ancient Rome.
  3. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, with high levels of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like calcium and iron.
  4. Kale is also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer and other diseases.
  5. Kale can be eaten raw or cooked and is often used in salads, smoothies, soups, and stews.
  6. There are several varieties of kale, including curly kale, Tuscan kale, and Russian kale.
  7. Kale has a relatively low glycemic index, which can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  8. Kale contains glucosinolates, which can be converted into cancer-fighting compounds in the body.
  9. Kale is a good source of fibre, which can help improve digestion and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  10. Kale became popular again in 2012, with many people incorporating it into their diets as a healthy and nutritious vegetable. Now we have a National Kale Day celebrated on the first Wednesday of October
Maria Kelley